Disclaimers: I'm still rights-less, although I'm also research paper-less so I have time to write again.

Notes: They're together finally, so…now what? I'm thinking about making this JoeyxSeto, but I have to see how things turn out. Chances are it will be 50/50 share on both sides

~*Beauty and the Beast*~

            Of course, there were rules to Seto and Joey's relationship, if it was going to last more than ten seconds. First and foremost of these rules was that no one was to know…excluding family. Family meaning siblings, in this situation. However, Joey was only allowed to tell his sister if she was the one to bring it up. Mokuba had to know, seeing as they were all staying together, and based on the fact that neither boy could lie to their siblings, this rule had been made. No one else was to know, which didn't bother Joey too much. Sure, he would have liked his friends to know, but he didn't want to bother with anyone else knowing.

            Actually, he was even having doubts whether or not he wanted his friends to know. It was a pretty weird situation for a boy to be in love with another boy, wasn't it? Well, perhaps he shouldn't be thinking of love just yet. For a boy to like another boy was more like it. It was just off with the whole cycle of life in most peoples' opinion, but Joey didn't really care. He didn't really think it should matter if the person you liked was a boy or a girl, they're the same person in the end.

            Things didn't really change much. Seto rarely showed affection, and when he did it wasn't much. Joey would spend his days lounging around in Seto's room, being quiet and trying his hardest not to be disruptive (a rule if he were to stay in Seto's room). Most times he just sprawled out on Seto's bed and slept, content just to know Seto was nearby. It wasn't like Seto was really going to pay much attention to him whether he was awake or asleep, so he didn't see any reason in being awake when he was tired.

            It was two days later when they appeared in school again, and Joey wasn't sure how he was going to do this. He didn't want to go, wanted to stay 'home' and spend what little time he had left with Seto having fun. Not going to school and having to pretend to hate Seto all over again. He wished people weren't so close-minded, so he didn't have to pretend.

            It was obvious Seto wasn't too comfortable with the idea of going to school, either.

            "Kaiba…" Seto blinked to look over at Joey, who was sitting rather close to him on the ride to school, despite protests. "I'm sorry." Joey continued, leaning a little closer to the other boy. "I made everything so weird…" Joey tried to explain, lips brushing against Seto's slightly. Seto blushed and pushed him away, turning to look out the window and moving scenery. "Your windows are tinted, weirdo," Joey commented, no longer the innocent, regretful boy he'd been earlier. He was back to himself, having given up on trying to guilt Seto.

            "We're almost at the school," Seto commented in return, and Joey clenched his fists tightly, trying to resist the urge to yell at him. As much as he cared about Seto, he could be a real selfish prick sometimes. "I told you, nothing's changed between us while we're at school." Joey scooted away from Seto to the other window, trying to keep himself under control. Part of him wanted to scream at Seto, and the other part wanted to kiss him…reassure himself that there was still something there to hide. Either way, he was pissed off. He didn't like the way things were looking already.

            "Don't worry, I won't have any problems screaming at you," Joey muttered under his breath, glancing over at Seto quickly…who probably hadn't even noticed Joey had moved. Why did Seto care if anyone knew anyway? As far as Seto knew everyone in the school thought he was a spoiled brat that didn't care what people thought of him. Why would he care now?

            However, Seto was well aware that Joey had moved back to his side of the car, and couldn't help but feel a little uncertain. He wanted this to work, he really did, but he didn't know how. He'd lived his entire life not showing emotion to anyone but his brother, he didn't know how to convince Joey that he really wanted him around without scaring him away. If Joey hated him—the real him, behind the cold exterior—Seto didn't know what he'd do.

            Joey got out early, as was usual, forcing himself to smile and wave as Seto drove off. He was still upset, but he could pretend…or he could try to anyway. He was well aware he wasn't very good at pretending. If he was angry, he was angry, there was no stopping it. And whether Seto wanted to believe it or not, he was angry.

            "Maybe you should move in with Kaiba forever, you're actually starting to get here on time," Tristan commented as Joey waved Seto off, catching his attention. He had only just arrived there in time to see Joey get dropped off, which meant that either he was late or Joey was on time…both were surprising.

            "Maybe, but I think one of us would die within the year. Me of boredom and Kaiba would just shoot himself. Bang! 'No more Joey to deal with, I'm free!'" He mocked, laughing even though it was probably true. He was sure he drove Seto as insane as Seto managed to do to him sometimes. In fact, he would have been willing to bet money on it.

            "Yeah, I'm sure we've all thought about that before," Tristan joked, resting a hand on his shoulder. "I know I have. Then I remember that I annoy you by staying here, so I can't do it." Joey glared at him, even though he knew he was teasing. "Seriously, though, I think this arrangement might have been good for you. You and Kaiba have at least learned how to deal with one another somewhat, right?" Joey smiled slightly, nodding. He wasn't about to tell Tristan that he'd fallen for Seto. Even though Seto hadn't said that he couldn't tell his friends that he liked him, he had figured that probably wouldn't have been the greatest of ideas. Eventually that would lead to them figuring out that they were 'seeing one another,' and that was bad.

            Besides, Seto had said that while they were at school nothing had changed between them, meaning that he couldn't even let people know that he and Seto got along any better than they used to. He was mad at Seto anyway, so it didn't matter.

            Why was it that he had to keep reminding himself that he was upset? Once people got upset they stayed upset, didn't they? Maybe he was just getting sick of being angry with Seto, although he doubted that was possible. It was more that…he didn't want to be mad at him.

            The conversation before school had been entertaining enough, and Joey was glad it strayed away from his own life…or really anything he had to participate in. He kept on looking for Seto, wondering where he had run off. He couldn't exactly go looking for him…or even go over to talk to him, but it would have been a comforting thought to know where he was. At least, Joey would have felt a lot better that way. He couldn't explain why.

            However, as well as the morning had been the school day was a slow and unusual sort of hell. Joey and Seto hadn't managed to get into any sorts of fights, but they certainly weren't getting along either. Even Seto started to get the hint that Joey was a little bit angry with him. He couldn't quite understand why, however, and that thought kept him distracted through all their classes.

            Lunch was the hour that would prove to be the worst, however.

            Most people had planned on eating lunch outside that day, as it was a beautiful day and they were trapped in the school building all other hours of the day. It only made sense to leave when one had the chance. Seto, however, normally wasn't one to go outside and eat, preferring the solitude inside. Joey would have liked to stay there as well, but seeing as Tea was insistent on eating outside they all followed.

            Joey hadn't been expecting Seto to follow them outside as well…and in truth Seto wasn't really looking forward to it, either.

            "Joey, why do you look so sad today?" Tea asked as she sat down under a tree she'd carefully picked out, being careful to keep her skirt at a respectable length. She may have worn her skirts short, as was the fashion, but she was no slut. "It isn't really like you. You normally look happy or angry, not sad," she added. True, she was a little bit annoyed by Joey's attitude but she still cared about him…at least somewhat.

            "I'm not sad, I'm tired," he answered as he sat down as well. He wasn't really sad, actually. He was just a little preoccupied with sort of depressing thoughts…but they were making him angry…not sad.

            "She's right, though. You do look a little depressed," Yugi added, still standing. He didn't really feel like sitting right now. He'd done it all class; he didn't see the need to do it during lunch as well…at least not for the whole hour anyway. Joey glared up at him.

            "I'm not depressed, I've just been thinking is all!" Everyone laughed at him for that, and Joey lay down in a huff, crossing arms over his chest. He didn't have anything to eat but that was okay, he wasn't really hungry anyway. If he was, he could always ask Seto to take him somewhere fast before they went back to his place. It wasn't like before, when he had to walk. Seto had a car and could go anywhere he wanted on his way home.

            Seto watched them with the slightest twinge of jealousy, which only made him more upset. He wasn't supposed to feel jealous of them. He was supposed to hate them. Things just kept on getting weirder and weirder since Joey had moved in with him. How many days ago had that been again? Seto hadn't been keeping track. It seemed like forever and not long at all, what with all the things they went through.

            It was when the bell rang that Seto made his presence known, grabbing a hold of Joey's elbow gently as he walked by. He really didn't want to make a scene with Joey's friends, but he needed to talk to Joey. "Stay here," he demanded before letting go of his arm, a little surprised at the confused and slightly annoyed look he received in return. Without a word Joey turned and ran to catch up with his friends, leaving Seto alone. Seto was about to scream after him when he nodded once again to his friends and turning around, walking back to where Seto was standing, hands in his pockets and eyes on the ground.

            "You look like a puppy about to get scolded," Seto remarked coldly and Joey glared up at him a minute before looking back at the ground. "What? Why are you so mad at me?" He crossed arms over his chest and moved a little as Joey walked past him to lean against the tree Seto had been standing under.

            "A comment like that and you wonder?" he asked with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Seto honestly didn't have the slightest clue how to treat anybody, did he? It was kind of amusing, that Joey would fall for someone like that. Most people wouldn't think it was possible. Not only because they didn't like someone, but also because it was fairly obvious already that Seto wasn't the type of boy anyone would fall for.

            "Look…I'm not trying to be mean. Stop looking at me like that," Seto demanded harshly, but Joey didn't stop glaring at him. "Please stop that," Seto tried again, staring down at the ground. He didn't like that look. It reminded him that he'd screwed something up again. He didn't like that feeling. The feeling that came with that look was almost unbearable. Joey felt a little guilty and dropped the look, but he was no less upset.

            "All right then, fine. What do you want?" Joey asked harshly, looking off towards the school as the bell to resume classes rang, knowing that they could probably be seen from the window if anyone bothered to look.

            "What's your problem?" Seto snapped, glaring up at him. "You're the one that wanted to go out with me, you made the first move! You know I don't know what I'm doing!" Joey blinked a few times at that before narrowing his eyes again. He hadn't been expecting a reaction like that.

            "Well maybe that's the problem! You act like you don't care what people think of you but that's all you care about!" Seto didn't seem phased at all, besides seeming a little angrier.

            "I don't care what they think! And…I care about you," he added softly, blushing a little and looking away. Joey didn't say anything and Seto grew angry again, uncomfortable in the silence. "And how about you? You're no better than I am!" he screamed back. "You complain that I never do this and that but you never ask me to! Ever think I might do something if you asked rather than just hung around and hoped! You love to make me feel bad!"

            "I'm not the one that's embarrassed to be seen with me!" Seto jumped back a little, eyes widening. "All you care about is your reputation, when have you cared about me?" Joey continued, aware he was finally starting to win the fight and feeling only slightly guilty. "I can't stand you but I like you and it makes me so damn confused," Joey admitted, lowering his voice. Now that he'd gotten his problem out and heard he really didn't feel the need to scream. "I know it's probably the same for you, right?" he finished quietly, suddenly feeling horrible about the things he'd said.

            "It's hard." Seto spoke slowly and quietly, taking a few steps towards Joey until they were almost touching. "They won't understand us. They'll hate us both, and then maybe you'll realize it's best not to have me around. I don't care if they hate me…but I don't want you to hate me." Joey blinked a few times, moving a hand to rest with curled fingers near Seto's pretty blue eyes. He hadn't even thought of that.

            "I was full ready to have you hate me for the rest of my life over just that one kiss." Joey tried to comfort him with a tiny smile, blushing a little. He was a little bit embarrassed to have to comfort the high-and-mighty Seto Kaiba, but he supposed things changed sometimes. Today had been a rather backward day, actually. "Why would what a bunch of strangers think of me change the fact that I like you? I mean…they don't really like either of us anyway. I'm annoying and you're cold so insults and hate are nothing different."

            "But this is different. This is an irrational kind of hate. Why would you go through that for me?" Joey took his hand away from Seto's face, landing a sharp smack on his cheek.

            "Don't you dare! Do you have any idea how much shit I've gone through already? I risked a lot just to be near you." Seto didn't even move, just stared back at him blankly. Joey sighed at the look, moving a hand to touch his cheek gently again. "You're worth whatever the world decides it wants to throw at me. Trust me, I've seen my fair share of hell, too," Joey added as a dash of comfort before removing his hand. "Now…can we get to class?" he asked with a cheerful smile, burying his hands back in his pockets and heading for the school building. He knew there would be hell to pay for being as late as he was, but he didn't care. He was used to it, and he'd gotten something good out of it.

            Seto didn't show up for a while after Joey did…actually not until the bell had rang for class to be let out again. He made his appearance as students talked and waited for their teacher to come in, well aware that most of their conversations were centered on the fact that he had, indeed, skipped a class. He almost wished they would leave him alone…not that it bothered him that they talked about him. He just…didn't like that they had to make a scene out of everything he did wrong.

            Okay…so it really did bother him. In fact, it kind of pissed him off.

            As far as Joey was concerned the rest of the school day passed by faster than the first half had, partially because Joey was no longer trying to stay mad at Seto. The other parts had to do with the part that it was no longer such a great day outside and classes were easier after lunch. This, of course, being because Joey slept through most of them.

            For Seto, however, every class took forever. This being, of course, because he wasn't sleeping and he was more confused than ever. He wasn't sure if Joey meant what he'd said…or if he had just been saying it because Joey wasn't sure exactly what he was saying. He wasn't about to ask, however. Surprisingly, Joey's slap had hurt. Seto 'hmph'ed at the very thought. Boys weren't supposed to slap one another.

            Joey didn't even think of going over to see Seto after the final bell rang, remaining in his seat and talking to his friends. He could live with this, so long as he didn't have to pretend to hate Seto he was good. He could ignore him just well enough on his own. He was a little surprised when his friends stopped talking rather suddenly, looking over at the hand near his face, blinking.

            "Are you coming or not?" Seto asked harshly, but he didn't dare look anywhere but a spot right below Joey's eyes. He couldn't stand to look at anyone at the moment, but wanted to make an effort, however. Joey smiled, standing up without taking the hand offered.

            "Well, yeah, of course. What did you thi--" Joey was cut short by the school speakers, blinking a few times. School was over, why would they be making any announcements now?

            "Hi everyone!" Seto's eyes grew wider, recognizing the cheerful voice over the loudspeakers. Joey seemed to recognize it, too, tilting his head a little to the side.

            "Mokuba?" he asked quietly, waiting for him to continue. He didn't notice the odd looks his friends were giving him, or the whispering going on between Tristan and Tea. Both were rather fascinated by their newest 'discovery.' Seto was being nice to Joey…or at least somewhat nice. They were talking and not screaming at one another.

            "I just wanted to tell everyone that Seto's taken, so all you girls keep your hands off!" Mokuba cheered happily, raising a fist in the air in victory. "If you don't I'll beat you all up, hear? Seto won't tell anyone but I will!" he finished, sitting down from where he'd been standing on the principal's swirly-chair, spinning around a few times.

            Everyone's eyes flew to Seto. Half the class had been left standing and waiting for announcements, some of the girls going on and on about how cute Mokuba was as they waited for him to continue. Joey didn't dare move, wide-eyed in shock. Mokuba was SO going to get it when they got back. If not from Seto then from him. They'd both worked so hard to keep things 'normal' at school.

            "You'd better have meant what you said," Seto snapped, leaning forward to whisper it harshly into Joey's ear. Joey nodded slowly, jumping at the light kiss on his cheek. He turned to meet cruelly amused blue eyes and a twisted smile. "If we can't hide I might as well play with them a little," he reasoned and Joey couldn't help but laugh. Seto looked so adorable like that, for some reason or another. He moved Seto's arms to wrap around his waist, smiling just as cruelly before standing on his toes to whisper into Seto's ear.

            "I get to play too, right?" He lowered himself to press a soft kiss to Seto's lips, glancing over Seto's shoulder at the shocked girls behind them. He smiled at them cruelly before removing himself from Seto's arms. "All right then, let's go home. I'm hungry," he whined, turning to his friends and smiling apologetically. "I gotta run, but I'll see you all later, okay?" he asked cheerfully. Yugi nodded, all smiles and cheer. Tea just seemed confused, but nodded slowly as well, and Tristan smiled a little reluctantly with a short 'okay.'

            "See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Joey asked as he followed Seto out of class. Mokuba met them in the hallways, latching on to Seto's hand and smiling up at him innocently.

            "We had a half day of school today so I came here to get you!" Seto smiled slightly down at him, although he was still rather embarrassed over Mokuba's announcement. "Hey! At least now you don't have to worry about people hitting on you!" He offered in his defense, falling into pace and walking next to them.

            Seto sighed and kept on walking, but his free hand reached over to take Joey's in his lightly, smiling a little as Joey held onto his hand as well.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I know it's kinda short, but it just wanted to end early, I suppose. I guess I was too busy trying to wrap things up to bother with length. This is the end of the story in this time frame. The next chapter will be a sort of 'epilogue' of sorts. It will probably be shorter than this…

Now it's time for

MANDATORY MOKUBA KIDNAPPING PART 9:

Mokuba: *eaves JoeyxSeto banner*

Seto: *steals it and writes SetoxJoey*

Joey: Hey! I liked it the other way!

Seto: *cross out Joey's name and glares at him*

Joey: EEP! I've been erased! *cries*

Seto: *evil smile*

Mokuba: I can't do it, so… *hands Tea a bat*

Tea: You mean…I get to beat someone up?

Yugi: That's what it seems like, Bag.

Tea: Shut up or it'll be you

Seto: Why does Tea have a bat?

Tea: *chases Seto around with bat*

Mokuba: *laughs evilly* SUPPORT THE JOEYxSETO OR WE'LL HAVE BAG BEAT YOU UP WITH A BAT!

Tea: . I feel so used…

And there you have it. Chapter nine of Beauty and the Beast. Sorry it took so long, but you all still love me, right? You know how to prove you love me, don't you? *points towards review button while practicing her swings*